Nikki’s salute to the Armed Forces community this Armed Forces Day
At Scotty’s Little Soldiers, we know only too well the commitment and sacrifices our Armed Forces personnel, both at home and overseas, make every day. To show my respect this Armed Forces Day, I will be joining the #SaluteOurForces campaign and paying tribute to all those brave individuals for their hard work and dedication.
The Armed Forces community has, and always will, have a special place in my heart. It was 11 years ago next month that I felt the full impact of the sacrifices our servicemen and women make in serving our country. I lost my husband and the father to my two young children on 10th July 2009. Corporal Lee Scott, aka, Scotty, was a dedicated member of the Armed Forces and was on tour in Afghanistan when he was hit by an IED bomb and killed.
I remember the day I received the knock on the door like it was yesterday, seeing those men in uniform arrive at my front door made my heart sink, I knew why they were here.
My two children, Kai, and Brooke, were just five and 7 months old at the time. They have grown up with a great amount of respect for the Armed Forces, knowing that their daddy died a hero, serving his country and keeping us safe.
I set up Scotty’s Little Soldiers in Lee’s memory the year after his death. Nine months after he died, I went on holiday with my family and saw my young son, Kai, laugh for the first time since he had lost his dad. This was my wake-up call, I knew there must be other children, just like mine, across country, who were suffering in the same way, and I just wanted to help make them smile again.
I set up Scotty’s in 2010, and since then the charity has evolved from my original mission of providing respite breaks for bereaved Forces families, to providing bereaved Forces children with gifts on poignant days of the year as well as educational and financial grants and support.
Our beneficiaries have already experienced so much at such a young age and understand more than anyone the sacrifices these Armed Forces men and women make, day in day out. Like Kai and Brooke, remembering the commitment their fallen parent made is a daily occurrence.
For many, the military is all they have ever known, so to have that network suddenly taken away is incredibly difficult. It is for this reason that we believe it is so important to keep our members together as a community. Scotty’s is like a family to a lot of members and maintaining the network they are used to through the military is key in helping them through the bereavement process.
It is our job to watch over these young children as they grow and offer them the support they need at times when they need it the most. We have recently launched Overwatch, a new initiative designed to give you, our supporters, the opportunity to watch over and support the children our fallen heroes left behind.
This Armed Forces Day we’re hoping that, like me, everyone will show their respect for our Armed Forces personnel and their families, and take a moment to remember those fallen servicemen and women and the children they have left behind.
You can help make sure all our bereaved Forces children grow up with a community, a network, of people around them who will help get them through some of the toughest times of their lives.
I hope everyone will join me this Saturday in a salute to our Armed Forces, #SaluteOurForces, and in signing up to Overwatch, helping us watch over the children of our fallen heroes.
Watch my #SaluteOurForces video here:
You can find out more information or sign up to Overwatch here